Leaked Amazon wellness pamphlet calls employees ‘industrial athletes’ and encourages urine checks

Workers for billion-dollar retail allegedly told to eat well, stay hydrated, and buy shoes when your feet are swollen

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 02 June 2021 17:55
<p>An amazon warehouse</p>

An amazon warehouse

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Amazon allegedly called its employees “industrial athletes” in a “wellness” pamphlet offering advice to “prepare your body” for a shift.

As reported by Vice on Tuesday, the retail firm issued the pamphlets to employees at an Amazon facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as part of the rolling-out of a wellness program in 2020.

The pamphlets referred to employees as athletes “who train”, and offered advice for preparing to walk up to “up to 13 miles a day” or lift “a total of 20,000 pounds” during a shift.

"Here at Amazon, you will become an industrial athlete. Just like an athlete who trains for an event, industrial athletes need to prepare their bodies to be able to perform their best at work," the pamphlet read.

It covered areas of health and “wellness” including nutrition, hydration, sleep, footwear, ergonomic work behaviour, and injury prevention, and was titled: ‘Amazonians guide to health and wellness’.

In a paragraph on hydration, workers were told to check the colour of their urine for signs of dehydration and to carry a water bottle around, to take-in two litres of water a shift.

It went on to advise workers to buy footwear "at the end of the day when your feet are swollen to allow for plenty of room when they swell during work,” and to eat fruit, vegetables and whole grains.

An ex-Amazon employee, Bobby Gosvenor, told Vice he received the “wellness” pamphlet before allegedly being fired after surgery for a work-related muscle injury.

“Amazon is so big that people getting hurt is really not a concern for them,” said Mr Gosvenor. “There was only one Amazon employee out of all the groups I had to deal with that said 'Hey Bobby, how are you feeling?’”

Amazon told Vice it created the pamphlet in error and that it was immediately removed. The Independent has also approach the company for comment.

It follows the recent introduction of so-called “wellness” booths for Amazon workers to “watch short videos featuring easy-to-follow well-being activities, including guided meditations, positive affirmations, calming scenes with sounds."

As the BBC reported, the firm removed a tweet referring to the “AmZen” booths following criticism of its infamous cost cutting work culture — frequently refuted by the billion-dollar American retailer.

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